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MSK Pain – Reduces stiffness

Reduces stiffness

Evidence summary

A systematic review of 17 RCTs identified 7 studies that had examined the association between resistance exercises in those with osteoarthritis of the knee. A meta-analysis of their results demonstrated a small effect size in favour of improved stiffness (SMD -0.31), identifying that they are beneficial within 12 weeks. The authors advise that exercises including seated leg press, leg extension and leg curls, as well as hip abduction and adduction exercises, can be used to obtain these benefits [1].

Quality of evidence

Moderate quality

Strength of recommendation



Physical activity prescriptions for those with knee osteoarthritis should incorporate resistance exercises, as they can be effective for alleviating stiffness.


1         Li Y, Su Y, Chen S, et al.The effects of resistance exercise in patients with knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Rehabil2016;30:947–59. doi:10.1177/0269215515610039